1863 Free Press

March 14th

GOYTREY – The temperance band of hope met at Penpelleny Cross at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, and formed in procession headed by their temperance band, and superintendent. In passing the smith’s shop they received not a few “good reports.” At Goytrey house they were most cheerfully welcomed by Col. And Lady Bird, and by a party of about 60, who had dined there. Having sung “Touch not the Cup,” they returned to Chapel Ed, to enjoy a treat of tea and cake, which was given to the members of the society. At 7 p.m., a temperance meeting was held, when addresses were delivered by the chairman, (Rev. D. Hargest,) Mr John Jenkins, and Mr John Ballard, and many interesting recitation, dialogues, &c., given, interspersed with appropriate singing. The meeting concluded with an addition of 27 “recruits.”

Good Friday! Good Friday!

ARE YOU COMING? – To where? For a country

trip on GOOD FRIDAY next, to

Chapel-Ed tea meeting, Goytrey.


Single Fares from Pontypool to Nantyderry Station;

Thence, a beautiful 10 minutes’ walk through a grove.

Don’t forget

Tickets may be had of MISS JONES, Bristol

House, Pontnewynydd; MR THOMAS JONES, Grocer, &c.,

Sowhill, Pontypool; and MISS PROSSER, Caroline-st.

The Train will leave Nantyderry at 9 p.m., by which

You can return after the PUBLIC SERVICE.

April 11th 

THE ANNUAL TEA MEETING AT CHAPEL-ED, Goytrey was celebrated on Good Friday, when an immense number of people were present. There were two services in the chapel during the day – morning and evening. At a cursory glance at the prospects of a tea party at the very small hamlet of Goytrey being fertile in the monetary bearing, one would naturally be inclined to predict an unfavourable issue, but when on takes into consideration that it has as its object a good cause, viz., the expansion of the funds of the chapel, and that Goytrey itself is surrounded on every side by picturesque scenery, – rivulets glittering like serpents in the sunshine or like threads of silver, and wooded heights gilded with the gleams of the sun where the fresh breezes blend with the carolling of the feathered tribe, – it is not, then, to be wondered at that such a large number of people availed themselves of the opportunity of visiting the sparsely populated hamlet on this occasion. The grave-yard of the chapel in which the “rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep in their narrow cells,” was, in common with the others in the neighbourhood, strewn with flowers which had been deposited there on the previous Sunday, but their wither appearance more forcibly impressed us with the speedy and relentless decay of all animated nature. However, a very pleasant day was spent, the tea and cake was plentiful and good, and Mr Hargent’s courtesy was marked, and contributed not a little to promote the successful manner in which the annual reunion passed off.

April 18th


An awful instance of the uncertainty of human life occurred in this town on Tuesday last. On that day Mr. Owen proceeded to Cardiff to attend our County Court. He alighted from the train at the Clarence Railway Station, and went to the Clarence Hotel, where he partook of some refreshments, and afterwards proceeded towards the Court. Alas! Who would have thought before he reached the Court of Justice, before which he had business to transact, “the strong arm of Death” would arrest him, and that the next Court before which he would plead would be that presided over by the Judge of All? But such was the case? Upon ascending the steps in front of the Town hall, Mr. Owen fell and expired almost instantaneously. He was removed into the Reading-room of the Literary Institution, and medical advice instantly summoned. After the lapse of a few minutes, Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Essex were upon the spot, but their services were of no avail, life being quite extinct. The friends and relatives of the deceased were communicated with by telegraph, and in the course of a few hours, his brother, Mr. David Owen, surgeon of Newport, arrived upon the scene, at which he seemed deeply affected. About eight o’clock in the evening, deceased was laid in the shell of his coffin, and on the following day, about two o’clock, was removed to the residence at Goytrey, where an inquest was fixed to be held this day (Friday). It is the opinion of the medical men that the deceased died from either disease of the heart or apoplexy. We understand that for some time past he had complained of pains in his chest, and that he had a presentiment that he would die suddenly from disease of the heart. Indeed, some days before his decease he sustained a fall from his horse, in consequence of an attack of the disease which is supposed to have caused his death.

Mr Owen, who claimed decent from the royal blood of old Cambria, (the celebrated Owen Glendower, the last Prince of Wales, being amongst his ancestors), was, we believe, born in Abergavenny, from which place he was removed in infancy to Monmouth, where he was articled to the legal profession, and where he practised for some time as a solicitor. He first brought himself into notice during a serious and protracted strike among the colliers on the Hills, by his earnest advocacy of their cause; and by continuing this course of conduct he eventually succeeded in obtaining their confidence so entirely that he was appointed their “Attorney-General,” and their untied contributions furnished a very considerable emolument for his services. Having once established a reputation as the friend of the poor man, he had no lack of clients among the humbler classes, whose cases he was always ready to undertake; and his experience, tact, and confidence often enabled him to gain their cause when it seemed almost hopeless. His increased practice led to his removing from Monmouth, and for many years he has resided at Goytrey, having also a residence in Cardiff and offices at Newport, Pontypool, and other places, and an extensive practice throughout the mining districts. We are glad to hear that his family are not unprovided for, Mr. Owen having in addition to other means, insured his life for £1000.

Mr. Owen’s appearance is too familiar to need a description, but we may state that he was apparently in the prime of life, though in his 60th year and that he was 6ft. 3in. in height; and proportionately bulky, he had a pleasant look and a bold, commanding presence; and no man inherited a greater right from nature (judging from his phrenelogical developments), to plead, in palliation of any particular foibles to which he may have been liable, the deprecatory language of Robert Burns : –

“Thou know’st that thou has formed me

With passions wild and strong

And listening to their witching voice

Has often led me wrong.”

April 25th


An inquiry touching the death of this gentleman was instituted at Goytre Cottage, the residence of the deceased, on the morning of Friday 18th, before E. D. Batt, Esq., coroner, and the following gentlemen: – Messrs. Thos. James (foreman,) Thos. James, jun., J.. Walters, Wm. Walters, Wm. Price, John Daniel, George Coles, John Williams, Wm. Lewis, J. Marshall, John Jenkins, and Walter Davies. Mr James Weare deposed – I was standing outside the Town Hall, Pontypool, about 11 o’clock in the morning of Tuesday the 14th inst., talking to Mr Conway and other gentlemen, when Mr Owen came up and shook hands with several persons present. I shortly afterwards saw him seize hold of the iron gate at the entrance, and perceiving that he was sinking, I caught him in my arms and prevented him from falling. He spoke a few words in a faint voice relative to someone going for a doctor, adding “But it’s too late now.” He was carried into a room at the Town Hall, and died in about quarter of an hour after he was first attacked. I remained with him until he died. ….Mr Supt. M’Intosh informed the coroner that Mr Weare was the only witness he thought it necessary to produce, and added that as he himself was present when deceased was attacked, he could if required corroborate the evidence given …. The coroner said he did not think any additional evidence necessary, and as the deceased had been well known to the jury for some time, they would have little difficulty in arriving at a proper verdict….The jury expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with the evidence produced, and returned a verdict that deceased died from natural causes. – On Monday the remains of the lamented gentleman were interred at Llantillio Pertholey, near Abergavenny, to which place they were followed by a numerous body of friends and relatives.

May 2nd


SIR,- I trust you will pardon me if I correct a mistake in your notice of the late Mr Owen, solicitor, in which you say he was first brought into popularity by his advocacy of the cause of the colliers. This was not exactly the case, as in the year 1840 his fame became not only provincial but world-wide, when he defended the Chartist leaders, – Frost, Williams and Jones – at the Special Commission held in Monmouth, and detected a flaw in the indictment that had escaped the notice of Her Majesty’s Solicitor and Attorney General, then sitting in judgement on the prisoners. This caused considerable delay in the finally carrying out of the sentence, as the subject had to be argued before the twelve judges. In the meantime petitions poured in from the clergy, magistrates, and all denominations of Christians, to the Secretary of State, for a commutation of their sentence, but without avail. It was from Mr Owen’s office that the petition emanated – addressed personally to her majesty. – that touched her kind and noble heart, and resulted in their lives being spared. This caused the name of their attorney to be known throughout England; and clients came to him from the counties of Gloucester, Brecon, Hereford, and Glamorgan, and he was repeatedly sent for from London;  so that he was induced to remove to a more central situation. But still the people of Monmouth claim him as their townsman. They were proud of his native talents,- but more than all, they were justly proud of his true kindness of heart, his willingness to be the poor man’s friend, his promptitude in seeing justice done to his cause. We, his old neighbours and townsmen, mourn him sincerely, for we know that in our generation we shall not look on his like again. He is gone from among us and there is none to supply his place. We all seem to feel that we have lost an old and valued friend. In the cause of the Welsh colliers his heart was always particularly warm. He used to call them his bold mountaineers, and it was always his wish that hey should follow him to the grave. But his funeral was quite private. None but the immediate friends of the family – with the exceptions of John Bird, Esq., Mayor of Cardiff, – was in attendance.

Monmouth, April 25th.                                           L.


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